In Stats: Top ODI Ranking & More at Stake an India Take on England
With one prize already in the kitty – by virtue of winning the tour-opening T20I series – Virat Kohli and his Indian team will eye a second trophy when they take on hosts England in the three-match ODI series that begins in Nottingham on Thursday, 12 July.
England are currently holders of the top place, while the Indian team is placed in second position. If the Indian team is able to sweep the series 3-0, they could displace the hosts from the top of the rankings, while a good series for England could see them establish a significant lead at the top.
One wouldn’t be too far from the truth in saying England and India are currently the two best limited-overs sides.
England come into this series after whipping Australia 5-0 in their most-recent 50-over assignment, while the Indian team will be playing only their second ODI series of the year; in their only ODI assignment so far in 2018, the Indian team defeated South Africa 5-1 in February.
Team India has dominated the England team in recent bilateral ODI series, winning the last four; the last time England got the better of Team India was when they won the 5-match series 3-0 in 2011.
England Mark 2.0
For the longest time, England played a very conservative brand of cricket and were therefore found wanting in the limited-overs formats; they played set-piece cricket and went about things in an orthodox manner.
However, things have changed drastically in recent times. It was only after their first-round ouster from the World Cup 2015 that the England team admitted they had a problem which needed addressing, and made a conscious decision to change their approach to 50-over cricket. There appears to have been a huge change in the culture of this England set-up, for they have ditched the boring brand of cricket and made it a habit to play an attacking and entertaining brand instead. This England team is therefore a joy to watch.
That they have been able to focus so hard on the job in front of them, and successfully bring about this incredible transformation to their playing style is a credit to all the players, back room staff and all the decision makers.
In ODIs played post World Cup 2015, England have posted the most 300-plus scores; they’ve made scores of 300 or more in 31 of their 69 matches. In the 40-month period post WC2015, England are the only team with an overall scoring rate of more than six; their scoring rate is nearly half a run more than the team with the second highest scoring rate.
And the reason for England’s powerful show with the bat is their endless line-up of fearless batsmen – Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes all boast strike-rates of more than a run-a-ball in ODIs post WC2015.
Captain Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales have a strike-rate close to hundred in this period too. England have depth in their batting order – with almost every individual in the eleven having an impressive first-class record, and players who play the same fearless brand of cricket right to the bottom; Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett are more than capable batsmen and boast of strike-rates in excess of 100 in these last three years.
No More Woes Against Spin for England
One of the major reasons for England’s newfound success in ODIs is that they no longer fear spin; there has been a steady and significant improvement in how England have countered spin in these last few years. One witnessed in the T20I series how the English batsmen quickly adapted to counter Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal; more of the same can be expected in the ODI series.
India Need to Discover & Settle Into 50-over Rhythm
Though the Indian team hasn’t played too much 50-over cricket recently, the team oozes with plenty of class, talent and experience. Three Indians figure in the top ten of the ICC Rankings for ODI batsmen: Virat Kohli tops the list, Rohit Sharma sits at fourth place and Shikhar Dhawan is ranked tenth. Each of these three batsmen relish playing in England and have fabulous numbers in ODIs.
The only thing the Indian team needs to do is to shrug off the rustiness and quickly settle into the rhythm of 50-over cricket. Will Virat Kohli and company be able to dominate England like they did in the T20I series?
Live updates from the 1st ODI, which will be played at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, will begin on The Quint’s live blog at 1700 hrs IST.